If Politics is Toxic Now, You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet

Capture.JPGIf politics is toxic now, you ain’t seen nothing yet. During the reign of St. Ronnie of Reagan, I used to think, “You know, politicians talk some serious shit these days.” But, Reagan was a kindly grandpa compared to the current lot. He may have done a lot of things that the country still suffers from, but he also managed to do some good. And the reason was that Congressional leaders were reasonable people who understood you had to drop the posturing and downright hatefulness at the end of the day and go play a round of golf with the other side.

Flash forward to Newt Gingrich, infant terrible of the right-wing. He came to office with an agenda to shake things up, but not in a good way. He paid the price with a short term, but went on to become the right’s idea of a one man intelligentsia — at least until Ted Cruz came along.

But Newt begat Tom DeLay who wasn’t called “The Hammer” for nothing. Since then there have been a long line of “leaders” from both parties with a penchant for spending a lot of time talking about what assholes the opposing party is instead of cooperating.

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A New Pledge of Allegiance for a New America

We’ve become a nation selfish to a fault.

We don’t want to pay taxes, but we want services.

We launch hate filled screeds about taxes as tyranny, yet don’t lift a finger to stop the steady erosion of real constitutional rights.

We rebel against the idea that health care is a right and then complain about how high the insurance rates of the insured explode from de facto coverage for those who have none.

Social Security is an unfair entitlement to those who don’t use it. It’s what keeps a loaf of bread in the house when they do.

If poor people need help, let them visit the local church. Of course, they’ll be taken care of… if they aren’t gay, or Muslim, or mentally unstable, or any of a thousand other reasons.

Unemployed people are a bunch of lazy goldbrickers living off the public dole. Unless, of course, we become them.

We want to cut taxes to cut a deficit, but want to give more tax revenue to businesses who pass it along to shareholders with nary a job created.

It’s only a matter of time…

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United State of Me, and to the republic which only I want, one person, among millions, and selfishly, with as little liberty and justice as possible for anyone who disagrees with me.

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The Ignorati are Becoming the New Ruling Elite

The Ignoratti

One frequent criticism from many on the right is that “the elites” run the country. And as with many things the right does and says, it does it without seeing the tiniest speck of irony. The irony being that in their unrelenting war on education and intellectualism, they are becoming the new elite running the country.

America was once a land of mostly illiterate agricultural workers – a whole country of disadvantaged migrant farm workers like the right so hates today. But those agricultural workers realized – like the migrant workers of today – that education was the way to pull themselves and the country out of the intellectual dark ages. Unschooled and sometimes illiterate parents made many sacrifices to educate their kids to develop the raw knowledge and skill to move themselves and the country forward.

Insane Amounts of Belly Button Gazing
The right may have a point that a society too dependent on intellectualism is a society frozen by insane amounts of belly button gazing and an over-dependence on books at the expense of the real world. But that is where the point ends.

Dumbsters

"Mr. Osbourne, may I be excused? My brain is full."

Successful societies need thinkers and doers because a society without thinkers doesn’t have the ability to help provide the knowledge and technology to the doers. The growing attack on intellectualism works like a photocopier that has made a copy from a copy from a copy. Each succeeding generation gets weaker and weaker until, at last, the final copy becomes unreadable.

Over the past few decades, the right has been unrelentingly chipping away at our educational infrastructure. From the abysmal Every Child Left Behind Act, to a steadfast refusal to approve taxes for schools, to rewriting textbooks to follow Christian teachings rather than actual history or science, we’ve reached a tipping point where we can no longer function. Instead of bellyaching about the minimum wage, that money and time would be better spent figuring out how to improve education than to fixate on obliterating it. Give people knowledge and we wouldn’t need to set a minimum wage.

Then Came the Ignorati
This nation is well on its way to becoming an anti-intellectual wasteland ruled by the ignorati instead of the intelligentsia or the commonsentsia. We’ve produced a crop of “leaders” without the good sense to come in out of the rain. The Christine O’Donnells, Sarah Palins, Sharron Angles, and Michele Bachmanns of the world recoil at the mention of anything requiring more thought than their many bubbleheaded Tweets.

Present the ignorati with immutable facts and they’re congenitally unable to process them. Producing an Obama birth certificate 47 ways from Sunday (along with assurances of its legitimacy from the Republican governor of Hawaii) and their answer is, “but it isn’t the right birth certificate”. They refuse to believe scientific data only to assure us the world is merely 6,000 years old. And, the list goes on.

You don’t have to be an egghead to see this problem. You don’t have to belong to the intelligentsia. You don’t even have to be a moderately intelligent person with a poor education. You only need to do this:

Listen to speeches by the leaders of the ignorigentcia and openly think about what they say – lest you become its newest member of their elite.

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